Let's Talk About Runes
Kamizu wrote: Are they the kind of spirits you can shelve for a while and come back to or do they require regular attention to keep happy? Is it better to make your own set with your own intent or buy them? Is each individual physical rune a spirit itself or are they kind of like a phone call back to a single spirit each symbol represents?
In my personal experience (which is all I can speak for, and isn't as complete as I'd like), they don't get mischievous on their own usually. They tend to only try your patience when you're using them. Otherwise, they've tended to treat me very much like a boomerang student. They seem to think that if I were more dedicated I could learn more, but they always pick up the phone when I call, even after long absences. This isn't to imply I've perceived them in an anthropomorphic fashion (because they really do just seem like ideals), but it gets the feeling across, I think.
As far as acquiring some, just like every other magickal or wyrd endeavor, it's always best to make your own. If this is your intention, there are scads of ways to do it easily, from the super simple (buying blank scrabble tiles and using a sharpie) to the more complex (I'm currently procrastinating on a set made from the wood of an elder tree felled by my own hand and carried a quarter mile on my bare back, which will be hand-carved and charged with blood, wine, water, and iron oxide paint, if I ever get off my arse.) This is because it allows you the ultimate control over what handles and influences your set from start to finish. It's worth noting at this juncture that what we call "runestones" today aren't exactly what the word typically means; a runestone proper is a standing stone carved in runes for any purpose, and historically the divining "stones" weren't made of stone at all, but wood, clay, or bone. That said, it's still a pretty kickass name, so that's what I wind up calling them.
However, if you're just starting out, I'd suggest either something like this kit or one of the other inexpensive sets that appeal to your aesthetic. The kit is one I bought in a local Books-A-Million (or did we get them before Borders closed?). The book is...unhelpful (or inaccurate, depending on how honest we're being) but has some interesting insights in the second half even if it teaches you the runes in the wrong order. The runes themselves are clay and feel odd, but I cleansed and sealed them for use as a "teaching" set I can loan out. Which reminds me, I need to remember where I put them...
OB1Shinobi wrote: is there any particular online source youd recomend for someone starting from square one?
If I were you, and I wanted to start from scratch, I'd check three places:
- The opinions of pagans or runesmiths/casters you trust (specifically, I would suggest asking the fine folks here at TOTJO who dabble or study these things, since they're handy and generally a great bunch of people)
- Runes, Alphabet of Mystery , a website that's been around for-effing-ever, and was my primary source of really good information that didn't come from musty old textbooks
- Rune Secrets (and the Rune Secrets community ), where you'll be able to check out specific meanings for specific runes in the traditional manner. Also, if you join the community, drop me a PM here--I lurk around there sometimes.
Between those three sources, you should be able to find a lot of other really great sources to begin your personal runic journeys. And anytime I can be a help, do let me know.
my apologies for not responding to this when you answered my question - i looked at the alphabet of mystery site - im definitely not ready for a kit and i prefer to begin learning about things by developing a knowledge base of research before i start asking specific questions - i usually find the answers im looking for in the material anyway
People are complicated.
It's tricky, however, as sometimes runes are associated with nymphs and nymphs were asked for guidance by using the runes. I suppose I could figure that the nymphs contact the spirits/deities in order to provide guidance and still cleave to your interpretation.
Very interesting perception to think on.
"I sae rantingly, an sae dauntingly, sae wantonly gaed he. He played a tune and he danced all aroond below the gallows tree."
"Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man." -Zhuangzi
- Golan Wilder
From what I understand the runes were primarily the types of alphabets that developed in northern Europe.
Might you be talking about the Theban Alphabet?
(AKA the witchs' Alphabet)
Runes were specific to the Northern Germanics, it was one of their ways of gleaning insights from the divine. There were other practices from Seiðkonr / Seiðkona, or Spækona. And multitudes of other forms of divination from any one of a number of cultures. However, whilst the Seiðr or Spæ practices are more intuitive and discerning, again, it is my experience that the runes are more disciplines towards constructive effect and deductive reasoning.
Egil's saga is a perfect example: whereas, when confronted by a sick child that a local rune-worker had inscribed runes to heal, Egil cast it off in disgust as the runic "construct" was wrong, and he replaced it with one of his own.
There is still, however, much that we do not know--short of Oðinn or Freya appearing and revealing the nature of the runes to a modern practitioner. And, as I believe that won't happen, leaves us with Their challenge to us to re-discover the true nature of the practice. A practice which has not yet been defined by any individual--regardless of the number of books that have been written; some of which provide certain insights, but are not universally 'correct'.
While I will not deny the power inherent in such an alphabet (the reason you hear me say "Words Mean Things"™ is because I believe in the power of language to shape intent and thought into the material), there are a lot of "runic" alphabets floating around the pagan community that are not runes. Strictly speaking, the term "rune" is reserved (both magickally and scholarly) for the writing systems of pre-Latinized Germanic languages, with slight vestiges of their power left in the Gothic Alphabet devised by Wufila (as the fusion of two alphabets with a spiritual intent behind its creation). The commonization of the term "rune" to mean any magickal chickenscratch was promulgated, I believe, by fantasy writers and D&D players, much like the terms "scale mail" and "plate mail", which grate upon my nerves worse than almost anything else in that particular fandom. While many other alphabets are used in a manner similar to runes (or, in the case of Cirth, are derived from the study of them), the fuþark and fuþorc are distanced from the other sets by commonality of origin, use, and spiritual belief. This sets them in a category all their own; a very unique and worthwhile study.
Lykeios wrote: The runes I want to begin using are focused around the Greek Alphabet. Most of them have interpretations involving the Gods and Goddesses. I suppose they could be said to have a spirit of their own.
I have often said that Odin hanged to give himself the insight of the runes, not to grant a gift, but to show a path. We must each sacrifice ourselves in the pursuit of that same knowledge by his example (obviously figuratively) if we are to learn what we will.
Kjartan wrote: There is still, however, much that we do not know--short of Oðinn or Freya appearing and revealing the nature of the runes to a modern practitioner. And, as I believe that won't happen, leaves us with Their challenge to us to re-discover the true nature of the practice. A practice which has not yet been defined by any individual--regardless of the number of books that have been written; some of which provide certain insights, but are not universally 'correct'.
I fully concur. Even amongst the Gods and Goddesses of Asgarð, the runes were the knowledge of Oðinn alone. According to the sagas, he only taught the knowledge of the runes to one other--Freyja, and that was in exchange for the knowledge of Seiðr; which was brought forth as an insult by Loki in the Eddic lay "Lokasenna", whereas Loki used such as an insult of being a "womanly" practice.
- Freja Saol-Wasser
- Sylver Wyrm
I do appreciate the nod, though. Many people start with Blum and then grow into other works.
- Sylver Wyrm
That said, it is obviously far from perfect for those very reasons. I fully recommend using other sources, and even learning to mix and match as suits you (and the runes). Many people - me and perhaps Blum included - feel that the runes have a certain way of working with each person in a very unique way.